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October 12, 2002

THE VIOLENCE POLICY CENTER has been trying to cash in on the D.C. sniper by nattering on about "sniper rifles" and the "sniper subculture." This argument is pretty thoroughly demolished -- by a Washington Post movie critic, no less -- in this article. Excerpt:

How much does he know about guns? Is he a "gun person," who reads the shooter's magazines and goes to gun shows and orders sniper manuals from the reprint houses? No credible evidence exists to prove this. . . .

For one thing, he's chosen quite a prosaic, low-cost system. It so happens we are in a period of remarkable advances in long-distance shooting, not merely with those laser range finders, but also with a whole batch of ultra magnum cartridges of very recent vintage, that make shots at heretofore undreamed-of distances possible for the common man as opposed to the skilled professional or heavily committed amateur shooter. He doesn't appear to be using any cutting-edge technology.

His choice of weapon reveals something as well. It's notable that he hasn't selected a firearm or a cartridge that's linked to sniping as it's practiced professionally.

"No credible evidence" -- just PR from an advocacy group with a bad record for trustworthiness.